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Sunday, July 31, 2011

There Are No Good Jobs There Are No Good Jobs There Are No Good Jobs

I say again, there are no good jobs. And in many places there are no jobs period. Even where there are jobs, paychecks are stagnant or falling and benefits are going the way of ye olde pension plans, while the safety net for the poor, the sick, the elderly, the workers, the middle class, the retired is being demolished, along with unions, education, you name it. We need jobs and we need to get the economy working for people other than the investor class. Period. We need to invest in our people and our future. We have to stop rewarding the people and entities that got us into this jam in the first place and who intend to keep us there. And we need to end THE WARS right now.

You've heard the baloney coming from "our side" -- we ALL have to sacrifice, we have to compromise in the face of economic blackmail perpetrated by the GOP/Wall Street/banking/financial cabal. Excuse me, but Ameircan workers, middle class families and the downtrodden have already done more than their part in sacrificing down to the bone and sometimes beyond. Excuse me, but rolling over for extortionists used to be considered the most effective way to encourage more blackmail -- and was considered to be the path of pathetic cowards and appeasers.

We now have an allegedly Democratic President and way too many Dem 'leaders" insisting that the only positive way to end this manufactured "debt crisis" is to entirely capitulate to irrational forces that can only be defined, at this point, as economic insurrectionists. Our president and DC Dems appear to be joining forces with the worst of America to subject our already ruinous economy to massive cuts, and to target those cuts at anything and everything that in any way, shape or form helps ordinary people or serves to create jobs, improve our infrastructure or invest in a better future for ordinary Americans. And nobody better touch the extravagant tax loopholes, subsidies and incredibly low taxation rates of the rich and powerful, whether individuals, hedge funds or globally irresponsible corporate entities.

Yes, our President and Congress are now solely concerned with "deficit reduction" -- cutting spending that A) helps people who have no jobs and B) helps create jobs. A cardinal rule in dealing with recessions (or whatever this "jobless recovery" actually is) has always been that cutting spending during economic downturns is a no-no -- because it's economic suicide. Yet this is the priority of Republicans, most DC Democrats and certainly our President, who appears to be a member of the plutocrat/oligarch/Wall Street Party despite all his huffing and puffing during the campaign about change we can believe in. Community organizer my ass. This man is now trying to out right wing the right wingers. It's that bad. 

I can only hope that this response will continue and grow: Black Leaders Rebuke Obama. Excerpt:

Rep. John Conyers (D-Detroit), a 24-term congressmember who is highly revered in the African-American community, is openly dissatisfied with the president’s handling of the self-inflicted debt ceiling crisis. Speaking of concessions the president is willing to make to avoid a default if the debt ceiling is not raised, Conyers told a reporter that he was angry.

We’ve got to march on him,” Conyers said. “We want him to know from this day forward that we’ve had it. We want him to come out on our side and advocate, not to watch and wait to see what [lawmakers] are doing in the House and Senate. We’re suffering.” Conyers and other leaders respected by the African-American community are voicing concern over the impact of the decisions of Obama’s Administration. They say the concessions the president put on the table will have the greatest impact on the most vulnerable in our society. Conyers and others are particularly concerned about the President’s apparent willingness during debt ceiling negotiations to make entitlement cuts and his lack of action on job creation.

“We’ve got to educate the American people at the same time we educate the President of the United States.” Conyers told a reporter this week. The Congressmember pointed out that the Republican leadership — neither Speaker Boehner nor Majority Leader Cantor — called for Social Security cuts in the budget deal. Says Conyers, “The President of the United States called for that, and my response to him is to mass thousands of people in front of the White House to protest this.[emphasis added]

Take heed, think-inside-the-box campaign strategists, advisers and presidential enablers:

“The activist liberal base will support Obama because they’re terrified of the right wing,” said Robert L. Borosage, co-director of the liberal group Campaign for America’s Future. [I'm not so sure of that myself.]

But he said, “I believe that the voting base of the Democratic Party — young people, single women, African-Americans, Latinos — are going to be so discouraged by this economy and so dismayed unless the president starts to champion a jobs program and take on the Republican Congress that the ability of labor to turn out its vote, the ability of activists to mobilize that vote, is going to be dramatically reduced.”

No More Excuses for Obama's Damaging Behavior
This needs to stop and ordinary people need to step up to the plate and stop it -- and stop making excuses for it because the man perpetrating these horrors is Barack Obama. We need to start treating him like any other servant of the plutocrats and oligarchs on the scene:

No matter how the immediate issue is resolved, Mr. Obama, in his failed effort for greater deficit reduction, has put on the table far more in reductions for future years’ spending, including MedicareMedicaid and Social Security, than he did in new revenue from the wealthy and corporations. He proposed fewer cuts in military spending and more in health care than a bipartisan Senate group that includes one of the chamber’s most conservative Republicans.

To win approval of the essential increase in the nation’s $14.3 trillion borrowing ceiling, Mr. Obama sought more in deficit reduction than Republicans did ... despite unemployment lingering at its highest level in decades, Mr. Obama has not fought this year for a big jobs program with billions of dollars for public-works projects, which liberals in his party have clamored for. Instead, he wants to extend a temporary payroll tax cut for everyone, since Republicans will support tax cuts, despite studies showing that spending programs are generally the more effective stimulus.

Um, does it really have to be pointed out to the President that the few dollars in payroll tax cuts instituted during his previous capitulations to the GOP don't help people without jobs because they aren't on any payroll? Again, take heed, Democratic establishment:

“The president’s proposing cuts to Social Security and Medicare has the potential to sap the energy of the Democratic base — among older voters because of Medicare and Medicaid and younger voters because of the lack of jobs,” said Damon A. Silvers, policy director of the A.F.L.-C.I.O. “And second, all these fiscal austerity proposals on the table will make the economy worse.

This should make every Democrat retch:

“Democrats created Social Security and Medicare, and we have fought for decades against Republican attempts to end these programs,” said Dan Pfeiffer, Mr. Obama’s communications director. “And President Obama believes that now is the time for Democrats to be the ones to step up and save Social Security and Medicare.”

Yeah right, save them -- using a right-wing frame, right-wing approach and right-wing policies. 

14th Amendment Now!
As John Judis writes in his excellent article arguing that Obama, who is always comparing himself to Lincoln, doesn't understand the essence and approach of Lincoln whatsoever:

I am not an expert on Lincoln, but I have a pretty good idea what he would say if he were to suddenly appear on the scene. He would reject the Republican majority’s attempt to blackmail the rest of the government and the nation. If, because of Republican intransigence, the Congress were unable to raise the debt ceiling by August 2nd, I suspect he would follow Bill Clinton’s advice and raise the debt ceiling unilaterally on the grounds of the fourteenth amendment, which says that “the validity of the public debt … shall not be questioned.”

That’s certainly a risky move. If Obama were to do it, he could eventually face a hostile Supreme Court majority, just as Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus aroused the ire of Chief Justice Roger Taney in 1861. But, given the dangerous game that the Republican Party is playing, that’s a risk worth taking.

Bottom line: If Democrats don't push back hard -- right now -- against the corporatism and anti-working and middle class positions of Obama, who will? Are you going to continue to be a sucker for Obama's corporatist hoodwinking, or will you finally see the light, stop the denial, admit to the realities and start fighting and pushing back with all your might?

I ask the same question of every single Democrat running in 2012 for any position up and down the ticket. Are you with the people or with the powerful moneyed interests? You're either on the bus or off the bus at this point. No more hiding out behind platitudes, pretending the President is for working people and American families. Speak up now -- speak truth to power -- or get out of the way to make room for those who will.

July 31, 2011 at 04:21 AM in 2012 Presidential Race, Corporatism, Democratic Party, Economy, Populism, Jobs, Labor, Obama Administration, Right Wing, Social Security, Taxes | Permalink


I don't see how any Democrat could argue with the case you make. This is the end for our party if they vote for this. A movement is the only way to combat this insanity and injustice.

Posted by: M.K. | Jul 31, 2011 12:16:59 PM

Now you are starting to get it. Liberals need to have a real grassroots movement with teeth. It is time to primary fake Democrats all over the nation.
If big cuts go through in an economic depression, it may be too late for the next generation or two who will have to suffer third world conditions.

Posted by: qofdisks | Jul 31, 2011 1:59:41 PM

Our only hope.
Co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Rep. Raul M. Grijalva released a statement today opposing the reported tentative agreement on the debt ceiling:

This deal trades peoples’ livelihoods for the votes of a few unappeasable right-wing radicals, and I will not support it. Progressives have been organizing for months to oppose any scheme that cuts Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security, and it now seems clear that even these bedrock pillars of the American success story are on the chopping block. Even if this deal were not as bad as it is, this would be enough for me to fight against its passage.
This deal does not even attempt to strike a balance between more cuts for the working people of America and a fairer contribution from millionaires and corporations. The very wealthy will continue to receive taxpayer handouts, and corporations will keep their expensive federal giveaways. Meanwhile, millions of families unfairly lose more in this deal than they have already lost. I will not be a part of it.

Republicans have succeeded in imposing their vision of a country without real economic hope. Their message has no public appeal, and Democrats have had every opportunity to stand firm in the face of their irrational demands. Progressives have been rallying support for the successful government programs that have meant health and economic security to generations of our people. Today we, and everyone we have worked to speak for and fight for, were thrown under the bus. We have made our bottom line clear for months: a final deal must strike a balance between cuts and revenue, and must not put all the burden on the working people of this country. This deal fails those tests and many more.

The Democratic Party, no less than the Republican Party, is at a very serious crossroads at this moment. For decades Democrats have stood for a capable, meaningful government – a government that works for the people, not just the powerful, and that represents everyone fairly and equally. This deal weakens the Democratic Party as badly as it weakens the country. We have given much and received nothing in return. The lesson today is that Republicans can hold their breath long enough to get what they want. While I believe the country will not reward them for this in the long run, the damage has already been done.

A clean debt ceiling vote was the obvious way out of this, and many House Democrats have been saying so. Had that vote failed, the president should have exercised his Fourteenth Amendment responsibilities and ended this manufactured crisis.

This deal is a cure as bad as the disease. I reject it, and the American people reject it. The only thing left to do now is repair the damage as soon as possible.

Posted by: qofdisks | Jul 31, 2011 2:33:36 PM

What you are witnessing is the willful destruction of the United States as a superpower... by the Republican Party.

There just aren't that many Tea Wees in the Senate to blame all this on the Tea Wees. It is a concerted GOP plan and it is being executed to its inevitable conclusion because, for them, anything but an economic rout for America is electoral suicide.

This is about discrediting and demoralizing Democrats.. then outspending them on the campaign airwaves.

This is all about power and control. The rich? "Heh, they got money to burn. If they lose 90% of it they're still rich. Everybody else? Oh? There is an 'else'?"

by cskendrick on Sun Jul 31, 2011 at 11:40:00 AM PDT

Posted by: qofdisks | Jul 31, 2011 2:51:14 PM

We have a local candidate who has actually taken a public position - and it's the right position. His statement was posted on this blog a few days ago. Now is the time to support the people who are standing up and saying what you want to hear.

You can support him - make a contribution, join the email list, volunteer - at: http://griegoforcongress.org/

Personally, I've been putting in 5 - 10 hours a week as a volunteer. I expect that amount to increase as I get my schedule organized. Do what you can. If nothing else, talk him up among your friends. Talk is cheap, but it's far from worthless.

Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Jul 31, 2011 3:39:52 PM

Both parties tell ABC News that the major potential roadblock in deficit negotiations-- the triggers -- are now essentially agreed upon. The plan is for the House to vote on this tomorrow, assuming all goes according to plan.

The agreement looks like this: if the super-committee tasked with entitlement and tax reform fails to come up with $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction that passes Congress, the “neutron bomb” goes off, -- as one Democrat put it -- spending cuts that will hit the Pentagon budget most deeply, as well as Medicare providers (not beneficiaries) and other programs.

If the super-committee comes up with some deficit reduction but not $1.5 trillion, the triggers would make up the difference.

So it’s a minimum $2.7 trillion deficit reduction deal.

And the debt ceiling will be raised by $2.4 trillion in two tranches: $900 billion immediately, and the debt ceiling will be raised by an additional $1.5 trillion next year – either through passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment, which is unlikely, or with Congress voting its disapproval..

Two items still being negotiated:

1) The exact ratio of Pentagon to non-Pentagon cuts in the trigger – Democrats want 50% from the Pentagon, Republicans want less;

2) Democrats want to exempt programs for the poor from the cuts.

Also Democrats say –- if tax reform doesn’t happen through the super-committee, President Obama will veto any extension of Bush tax cuts when they come up at the end of 2012, further creating an incentive for the super-committee to act.

All sides hope this will be enough to convince the markets and ratings agencies that the federal government is serious about deficit reduction -– in order to avoid default.

Both sides will declare victory –- last week the biggest difference between the Boehner and Reid proposals was whether, as the GOP demanded, there would be another debt ceiling vote before the election. That wont happen in this deal.

But at the same time, Republicans got almost every single other item that they pushed in this process.

So now the policy has been negotiated, for the most part. But now comes the selling –- the politics. And this has been a political debate more than a policy one.

It’s still unclear if House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, can rally his troops to support this, though House GOPers say they should be able to get to 217 with some Democratic support.

There is less of a concern about the Senate.

Please note that this is still a fluid process, so even though this negotiation is close to final it is not done until the bill hits the floor of the House for a vote.

-- Jake Tapper

Posted by: qofdisks | Jul 31, 2011 3:40:57 PM

For some reason this brings back a moment from the 1988 Democratic state convention in Houston. I had been standing on my chair as had everyone else through a speech that incrasingly brought the house down. As Jesse Jackson spoke people had tears streaming down their faces because he was telling it like it is.

Then, the podium was ready for the Party nominee, Micheal Dukakis. Everybody stayed in their seats. He was like a piece of cardboard. Then, after he spoke, there was a balloon drop from the ceiling and a band struck up and something like 15,000 people erupted into cheers. A friend of mine standing near me said, "Wow, a truly great man."

I looked at him and looked around and it seemed to me that I was in a scene from that sci fi movie where people are being replaced by pod beings who think with a group mind.


I think that whatever it is that keeps the Democratic Party primary voters and convention goers firmly convinced that we need to be into out Republicaning the Republicans, that is the issue. The consequence of this being an entrenched set of habits for perceiving reality is the current situation in Washington.

I don't feel I can blame the leaders when We The People prefer to wear the brand name blinders we have been sold.

Posted by: Stuart Heady | Jul 31, 2011 3:58:37 PM

Stuart you don't see where the power is. Nobody that is remotely like Jesse Jackson (even though he has some huge flaws) or Howard Dean would really ever get near the presidency because the corporatist insiders in the party team up with corporate media and make it so. If you think the party rank and file itself has any power in this era of billions in campaign funds changing hands you're not looking at the facts. They have no clout because they have no money. Each candidate's campaign operates like an independent empire getting fed from outside the party. In the old days the party could wield some discipline because candidates had to come to them for money. That is no longer true.

The Senate and Congressional Campaign Committee do have some power of the purse but they are not controlled in any way by the party rank and file.

People can break any habit they want in the rank and file and it will have almost no impact above.

Posted by: SCC | Jul 31, 2011 5:01:49 PM

I totally agree with SCC.

Posted by: barb | Jul 31, 2011 6:05:39 PM

Candidates who get on the ballot get there because people voted for them in a party primary process. They get elected when there is a general vote for them. Voters and voting are the issue.

To contrast Jesse Jackson and Dukakis is to contrast heart and soul with calculation. They seem to get divided a lot. Over and over, the question of how to make a choice is at the root of this.

We The People have issues that you can't blame on money or media and these have to be honestly faced and dealt with. Mostly we don't.

Look, the nation faces rather the most serious issues since the Depression and WWII, and a lot of things that make the plight we are in tick are not easy to describe in any format.

We have to get beyond the circular firing squad of accusing anyone with a slightly different idea of being basically ignorant.

Either we are ready to give up out of utter cynicism and despair - or we continue to think that there must be something we can do to act on a sense of possibility. Thinking about how some different way of doing things might yield different results is a legitimate line of inquiry to pursue. It is constructive.

Posted by: Stuart Heady | Aug 1, 2011 8:04:23 AM

A further thought:

By being overly concerned with and by oversimplification of marketing concepts, we put too much weight on demographic manipulation and forget that our fellow citizens have free will and make their own decisions. This reductionism is rampant in both the media in much general speculationa about what motivates voters.

The GOTV framework, meant to be a system for eliminating guesswork and efficiently organizing the chore of reaching voters, has turned into an intellectual box people are comfortable not thinking outside of.

As we look at our current situation we have to ask questions like "what is going on that we are not getting?" Why are the same results that we dislike happening year after year after year? Why are the arguments so much the same they might as well be coming from a script?

We have been too comfortable for too long with conventional frameworks for thinking about all this.

Posted by: Stuart Heady | Aug 1, 2011 9:57:04 AM